BALLITO, South Africa, (Monday June 24, 2013) - The ASP Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito kicks off from July 1- 7, 2013 and South Africa’s finest are looking forward to capitalizing on the significant rankings points and prize-money on offer at this prestigious event.
One of just eight Prime Events on the ASP World Tour, the event offers the most rankings points outside of a World Championship Tour (WCT) event and has seen all 13 out of its previous 14 event winners, go on to qualify for the elite WCT the following year.
South Africa’s highest seeded surfer in the event, current ASP World No. 3, Jordy Smith (Cape Town), is looking forward to performing in front of a home crowd.
”It’s an awesome time of year to be in South Africa and the North Coast really delivers,” Smith said. “To be doing the contest at home for once is great and it gets me really excited.”
Winning the Mr Price Pro in 2010, Smith went on to win the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay that same year, rocketing to World No. 2 on the ASP World Rankings. With extensive experience at both Prime and WCT level, Smith knows only too well how important a Prime event on home soil is for South Africa’s WCT campaigners.
“The South Africans are going to be the toughest competitors of the lot because they have experience at their home break. It’s going to be interesting to see how they go and it’s a great opportunity for them to be able to compete in this caliber of event, at a break they are familiar with and have had time to practice at.”
The most local of the South Africans in this year’s event is last year’s wildcard, and this year’s highest seeded non-WCT surfer, Beyrick De Vries (Umhlanga), who has gone from strength to strength on the international stage thanks to his wildcard entry into last year’s Mr Price Pro Ballito.
“Without my wildcard into the Mr Price Pro last year I would not be in the Primes this year and would not have qualified for this year’s event,” said De Vries. “This year my spot will be on merit and it will be because I got two results, which like I said, was thanks to my points earned at last year’s Mr Price Pro.”
Fresh off a runner-up finish at the 6 Star Los Cabos Pro in Mexico last week, De Vries has jumped to No. 41 on the ASP Men’s World Rankings – qualifying for the Primes for the remainder of 2013 where he will be aiming to climb the rankings ladder.
“I was fresh off injury coming into the Mexico event and was just hoping to make it to the midyear cut-off so I could be in the Primes for the second half of the year. I’m overwhelmed with my result and will try to carry my momentum into the Mr Price Pro Ballito.”
Born and raised on the raw power and shark-infested waters of the Southern Cape, Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay) is South Africa’s second highest non-WCT seeded surfer in the event and is currently rated 99th on the World Rankings.
With an equal 9th at the Mr Price Pro Ballito in 2011 – not to mention an affinity for powerful, hollow waves, such as Willard’s Beach – Joubert has long been touted as a local favorite at this event.
“The Mr Price Pro Ballito is crucial for my campaign this year,” Joubert said. “It’s one of the best waves on tour, and one of the events I enjoy most. I’m hoping that I can do well in front of my home crowd and get my foot in the door for the rest of the year.”
Similarly well versed in larger surf, wildcard surfer Chad Du Toit (Durban) has an aerial game to boot. Living not 30-minutes South of Ballito, Du Toit’s experience in the powerful North Coast surf could make him a dangerous competitor in next week’s event.
“Last year I got a wildcard and surfed good in my first heat and was really well prepared but the wheels fell off in my second heat and I was just not myself,” Du Toit said. “This year I hope to get some solid points and cash to put myself back on tour for the European leg. So this event is huge for me.”
Fellow wildcard surfer, Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay), is similarly hoping for a fairytale finish. Completing his studies in 2012, Sawyer can now focus his attention on competitive surfing, and couldn’t ask for a better launching pad than his wildcard entry into this year’s Pro.
“The Mr Price Pro is definitely a huge bonus to get into, being a 6 Star Prime means no heat will be easy,” Sawyer said. “I had some decent points after JBay last year but wasn’t able to do the European leg because I had my matric exams which was a major setback. My approach this season is to find my feet in some comps, gain a better rating and then do it full time next year. ”
Eleven South African are confirmed into this year’s event including ASP World No. 20 Travis Logie (Dbn) and Dale Staples (Cape St Francis) as well as wildcard surfers David Van Zyl (Dbn), Micheal February (SKZN), Matthew Bromley (CT) and Greg Emslie (EL). Two additional South African surfers will earn places into the event through the trials to be held prior to the event.
The Mr Price Pro Ballito will include the ever-popular Beach Festival, which will boast an array of impressive entertainment. This entertainment will include the popular Free Music Concerts taking place at Salt Rock – featuring twenty bands over three days from July 4- 6, 2013.
With numerous beach sports, soccer leagues, fun days and extreme sports demonstrations including wake skate, break-dance, parkour and BMX all on offer, this year’s festival offers something for the whole family. And, if that weren’t enough, this year’s extravaganza will see the addition of a three day Food and Wine festival running from July 2 to 4 – enabling crowds to experience new tastes and ensure that absolutely all of their senses are satisfied.
The Mr Price Pro will be webcast LIVE via www.mrpricepro.com